10 Ways to Spend Your Rest Day to Recover, Renew, and Restore

POPSUGAR Photography | Kathryna Hancock
POPSUGAR Photography | Kathryna Hancock

We love getting into a solid routine and rhythm with our fitness — when you really hit your stride, you feel unstoppable. Plus, when you're noticing increased strength, stamina, and #gainz for days, sometimes you just want to keep going. Just make sure to work in at least one day of total rest per week while you're crushing all those workouts!

Not only can skipping your rest day be dangerous for your health, but rest days can actually be super enjoyable! Think of it as a fun day of self-care.

  1. Foam Roll. One of the best things you can do on your day off is use a foam roller, tennis ball, or massager and roll out your muscles. Get all the muscle groups of your body — make sure you massage your knee area and roll your IT bands, too!
  2. Get Some Bodywork. Whether it's a massage (DIY or spa!), acupuncture, a chiropractic adjustment, or cupping, try using this day of rest to give your body some much-needed adjustments and therapy.
  3. Stretch. Spend some time stretching your muscles. Work your upper and lower body to give yourself some much needed attention and recovery. Need a little extra stretching help? We recently tried Massage Envy's Total-Body Stretch on a rest day, in which a sports massage therapist pulls and guides you into deeper stretches from head to toe — it's incredible.
  4. Meal Prep. Use the time you would've been exercising to prep healthy meals for the rest of the week. You'll be doing something good for your body while your muscles recover.
  5. Make Recovery Foods. From your favorite BCAA recovery drink to a recovery smoothie, make sure you're loading up on potassium, magnesium, and anti-inflammatory foods like cinnamon and turmeric that can help your body heal.
  6. Diffuse Oils. Essential oils can help you unwind, especially if you're feeling restless. They can promote a sense of calm, reduce physical and psychological stress, and in general just create a nice fragrance for your bedroom or living room.
  7. Meditate. What better way to recover and focus on your brain-body connection than with meditation? Download an app to get started and start feeling zen.
  8. Sleep In. Use the hour you'd usually spend at the gym in the morning and sleep in. The extra zzz's will help your body regenerate and recover and can also aid in weight loss!
  9. Steam It Up. Hit up the sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, or spa; take a bath, or even just a hot shower! You'll release tension, soothe your muscles, and feel so relaxed.
  10. Mellow Movement. While we encourage you to just rest, if you need to move, opt for something light and low impact. A restorative yoga flow could be the stretching your body is craving, or a short walk outside might be the movement you need to quell restlessness. Try going outside for some forest bathing or earthing to enhance the experience and reap even more antistress effects!